June 4, 1787. Manuscript petition, 29.5 x 18.5 cm., 5 pp., approx. 1000 words. Stitched sheets (stitching pulled). Browned, old staining and fraying, some short separations along folds, chips and tears to the final leaf, affecting a few of the signatures. This is a petition written by the selectmen of Braintree who were concerned about allegations involving the legality of their vote for "Col. Thayer" (Ebenezer Thayer, Jr. 1721-1794) to be a representative of the town. This petition makes mention of a petition which had been submitted by Azariah Faxon and others containing allegations of impropriety that threatened to overturn the Braintree election results: "We humbly presume the election to which the petitioners advert, when it is candidly examined, will appear to have been made not only free from 'bribery, fraud and corruption', but strictly conformable to the rules prescribed." Faxon's petition had also asserted that a "servant of the gentleman, had put in more than one vote" and this was also denied. "The complaint is unsupported, we pray, that the petition may be dismissed as the brat of a faction, tending to sow the seeds of discord, anarchy and confusion, and pregnant with evils destruction of the peace, happiness and welfare of society." This petition contains signatures of about 65 townsmen including John Stetson, Jonathan Bowditch, Caleb Hobart, Gideon French, Thomas Hollis, jr., Nathaniel Wales, Josiah Vinton and others. The Faxon petition was considered by the House of Representatives and dismissed on June 25, 1787.
The year 1787 was a contentious and tumultuous one; Gov. James Bowdoin had called up the militia (using his own funds and that of other merchant leaders to field an army) to put down the populist uprising known as Shay's rebellion. Shay's' Rebellion, a post-Revolutionary clash between New England farmers and merchants that tested the precarious institutions of the new republic, threatened to plunge the "disunited states" into a civil war. Item #64344